When swinging flies for salmon and steelhead at our lodges, we’re pretty lucky in that most of the runs we fish consist of long, wide open gravel bars, devoid of obstacles, with virtually endless back casting room. It makes it pretty easy to get lost in the rhythm of cast, step, swing and repeat, and ultimately makes for a pretty relaxing day of fishing.
However, we understand that’s not always the case on many of your home waters. Instead of casting from an open gravel bar, you might feel more at home casting under an overhanging tree, or backed up against a grassy high bank. So familiar? We thought it might.
Therefore, today we kick off a series of posts on spey casting in tight quarters. After all, it’s what spey rods were designed to do! Today’s topic, casting stations.
Covering water efficiently is critical when swinging flies for anadramous fish. It’s easy to lose track of the water you’ve covered, particularly when working down a run crowded with overhanging trees, snags, or other casting obstructions. However, staying systematic throughout the run to ensure that the most water possible is covered effectively will lead to more fish to hand (or at least hooked).
So, before starting down a run, take note of the obstructions present, and determine those areas where you are not able to make an effective cast from (low overhanging branches, areas unsafe to wade, etc.). Then, determine the area closest to such obstructions in which you CAN make an effective cast from as you work down the run. These are your casting stations.
As you reach each casting station, rather than make the same cast, swing, and step further down the run, lengthen out your casts from the same spot instead in order to cover as much water below you as possible before moving on. Then, hop down to your next casting station, starting with a short cast and lengthening out as before. That way, no stretch of water is left uncovered, even while skipping over those impossible casting areas.
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